Service evaluation of acupuncture provision by a primary care physiotherapy musculoskeletal clinic: a feasibility study
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Tan, C. & Tan, A. (2017) Service evaluation of acupuncture provision by a primary care physiotherapy musculoskeletal clinic: a feasibility study, Acupuncture in Physiotherapy, vol. 29, , pp. Sep-19,
OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to ascertain the feasibility of conducting a wider-scale evaluation of acupuncture services provided by physiotherapy services within a Scottish region. Two secondary aims of this study were a) to evaluate acupuncture as part of a physiotherapy treatment package; and b) to establish the key outcome measures used by services. METHODS: Anonymised patient data were extracted from patient clinical notes. The inclusion criteria were: a) patients admitted to the physiotherapy clinic, b) treated with acupuncture as sole treatment or as an adjunct to other interventions, and c) treated for musculoskeletal conditions. RESULTS: 51 patients were included. 80.8% of patients received one or more treatment interventions in addition to acupuncture. Patients received a median of 4.5 (range: 1.0-11.0) treatment sessions over a median duration of 6.5 (range: 1.0-75.0) weeks. The median number of needles used per session was 8 (range: 4-18). No adverse events were reported. The main outcome measures used were pain numerical rating scale (at first consultation) and categorical reports of pain status (at discharge). 82.7% of patients reported improvement in their pain status. Recommended improvements for a wider service evaluation include: a) a consistent and standardised recording of pain outcome measures for pre- and post- treatment assessment, b) inclusion of a quality of life measure (EQ-5D) to facilitate cost-effectiveness evaluations, c) recording of pain medication dosages, and d) detailed recording of acupuncture parameters. CONCLUSION: It is feasible to conduct a wider evaluation of services incorporating recommended improvements and appropriate clinician training and engagement.